When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, May 25, 2002

Some subversive stuff:

Why it might be difficult for the government to withdraw from business

Conversion and Subversion: Religion and the Management of Moral Panics in Singapore

Some funny stuff:

What are the pros and cons of becoming a eunuch?

And some sad stuff (excerpted from the latest This Is True):

THIS WEEK'S HONORARY UNSUBSCRIBE goes to Dave Berg. A cartoonist, Berg is best known for his work in MAD Magazine, where he was an artist since 1956. His feature "The Lighter Side of..." began in the magazine in 1961 and has been drawn by him since. His strips often featured the pipe-smoking "Roger Kaputnik" -- his own alter-ego observer to help make Berg's points. "He was not a cynic at all," said MAD co-editor Nick Meglin. It was just vignettes that he personally witnessed and did variations on of everyday life wherever it occurred." His last "Lighter Side" feature will be in MAD's 50th Anniversary issue in September. Berg died May 16 from cancer in Marina del Rey, Calif. He was 81.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Now that I'm back, my tech related stuff is back too :)
Firstly: This is an illegal post. If you have high morals, stop reading this post now.

Reuters, Yahoo, and CNN have all broken the law () by posting the news on how to defeat the new Sony copy protection using your everyday marker (I hear that maybe they'll ban markers) or even an innocuous post-it note. Read about the news agency violations here:

Newsforge Article
I love the way this article ends.

And the offending article from yahoo itself here:

Sony's new CD-protection defeated by a marker.

Yours truly feels that fighting piracy is a good thing.

However, when that fight starts by using technology that is a hassle to consumers (the protection crashes Apple computers, among other things) something is out of hand. AND the fact that the copy protection works by adding imperfections to the quality of the music doesn't help either. Maybe record labels should make originals cheaper to encourage consumers to buy them instead- it's not like the stamping of a silver + packaging cost actually cost them a lot.
Tadaima! (I'm back!)

Haven't posted here for ages and it seems like Andrew ~~~ (three tildes! no less!) has taken it over. It sounds like you're having fun where you're at though, Andrew :)

And all the while, yours truly going through what gabriel likes to call slavery- but I don't think so, i'm fulfilling my duty to my country. Yeah! That's it! At least I'm not getting poked every day by yakult / vitagen straws- but you'll have to ask gabriel about that.

I wouldn't know about providing doctors with more info... usually, I say: "I feel sick", which seems to sum up how i'm feeling pretty well. Maybe I should start telling the doctor in more detail _how_ I feel. Maybe "I don't feel as well as I usually do" is a good start. I'm going to try harder next time I see a doctor (determination).

Mmm.... that's about all i have to say for now. Be nice to this poster, ok? ^^
Albert suggested i make a list of things i'd want to bring back from singapore, so i'll start:

1) Computer with printer (the latter being v. important in the light of high printing costs) ... hmm windows 98/XP .... desktop. Plus extra printer cartridges.
2) Handphone. Hrm, cross that out since i'd be able to get a free one on a plan here.

2) textbooks. Rhoades and pflanzer? Dorland's medical dictionary?
3) Clothes- all my funky tops and berms at home
4) Photos!!
5) song scores? Bulky, may not be much use- for mcfarland's and med choir.
6) keyboard. No, scratch that, too bulky for this trip.
7) Rice cooker/related kitchenware if there's space
8) CDs!! Oh... most of my cd collection is here already ...albert's gonna burn the JOC albums for me. and i can go to gramaphone to get some more (=
9) Stationery- pens and things, plus those clear folders i'm addicted to.

And i'll have to make a list of pple to buy things for, and what to get them... it would simplify things a lot if you would just tell me what you'd like... seriously. Email me or icq or something. especially if you're a nougat or nut fan.
The "new sintercom" whose existence is highly poseur-ly imho.
Qian xi is interviewed there on her views of the singapore government!
Remember, you heard it from Balderdash .

translation for below: smoko's a party with drinks, Ron's a bangladeshi kid who is sponsored by the college student body. And "gold coin donations" is an obligatory donation towards Ron. Why bangladesh? Why why?

Ron's Birthday Party Smoko - Sunday night - Latest News
Posted by Ben Sturmfels on Thursday May 23 2002 @ 12:54AM EST

'Haaaappy B'day to Ron, Haaaapy B'day to Ron...'

Last Smoko for the semester!
When? Sunday 26th @ 8pm in the Quad.
Who's Ron? A child in Bangledesh sponsored by the Students' Club. We are raising $$ for good cause by gold-coin donation at
the door.
Dress? Come like your Mummy dressed you... ;)

Party food
Face painting
Fairy floss
Lucky dip
1st keg of night - Hahn Premium
Fantastic costume prizes
Schnapps punch for first hour

Please remember your donation for Ron!
Today I went for Tai Box- as arranged with my cell group. But only heather and olivia turned up. Lasted for 1 hour at the university sports centre. Very fun! I love tai box! Yay!

/Classes/Semester_1_2002_Discussions_and_Announcements/Discussion/Medical Course Discussion/Open Discussion/Rant: Issues with
communication skills

Chih Kiat Gan (ckagan)
Semester_1_2002_Discussions_and_Announcements (Semester_1_2002_Discussions_and_Announcements)
21/5/2002 6:57:36
Rant: Issues with communication skills

(Personal gripe)

I have issues. I have issues with the imparting of *communication skills* as is taught in the medical field worldwide. There is an unspoken rule
(akin to the zeroth law of thermodynamics) that the more information, the better for the doctor, and the *ideal* consultation would involve the
patient telling all to the doctor, within the time available. Patient background is important, but this implicit assumption is intimidating to patients.

Would I be more comfortable with this if the assumption is clearer? Scarcely.

I recognise the importance of contextual history, of snippets of background that confirms a diagnosis or identifies a genetic predisposition to
some disease (yes, genetics the tool of choie of our era). But I maintain that the expectation (by the doctor), that the patient should share
everything, is flawed. The patient has the right to withold information, as the patient has the liberty to accept or reject forms of treatment. And
the pedantry of bedside manner should recognise this.

As patients have a right to autonomy, they should have the right to refuse (or withold) information they are not comfortable with sharing with
their doctor, particularly if such action could put the doctor in a position whereby he is obliged to conduct a breach of confidentiality. An
individual who admits to homicidal thoughts and pre-meditated murder will be turned in by his doctor; a paedophile may be requested by his GP
to see another doctor in the future, for fear that the former may harass the GP's other clients.

(I draw a distant (and possibly irrelevant) parallel to the US army's "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regards to sexual orientation amongst its
recruits. Okay, so that wasn't so relevant after all)

As a medical student, I struggle to cope with the paradigm of a profession which holds more respect, more influence, more responsibility, more
expectations, than I had expected. That we would enter this profession providing maximal care, support and dignity to every patient is
impropable, but it is something to aspire towards.

(Actually, I also maintain all medical students should undergo coursework in medical humanities- people are not just flesh and bone- as well as
training in counselling. )

-- andrew --

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Did my first paid student service today- wonder if i could negotiate with victoria to count it towards my actual student service again =p (Student service is an obligation in most colleges/or hostels as gabriel understands. It's a mandatory contribution to the college community- and comes in the form of kitchen work, serving in the dining hall, office work- and that's in the order of desirability, starting with the least desirable. It's a great time to interact with other pple, and i never see it as a chore- there's a gotong-royong spirit or atmosphere about doing everything which is sooo warm and fuzzy)
And not only was it my first paid, it was my first time serving in the hall! (First time Not scrubbing stainless steel in the kitchen- allegedly the worst student service job of all)


And landmark: Jiaming and albert and chenyi have visited my blog! (darn, they didn't leave comments) And they found it highly amusing!!

This freaked me out QUITE A LOT earlier this evening (internet connection was down!!):

Unimelb network outage - Information Technology
Posted by Iain McLaren on Wednesday May 22 2002 @ 08:50PM EST

The Ormond link to the internet has gone down due to a problem at Melbourne University. This is the second time that this has happened today. As soon as the connection at Melbourne Uni is reestablished, access to the internet should become available again.
Apologies for the inconvenience.


Iain McLaren writes on Wednesday May 22 2002 @ 10:48PM EST: [ reply | parent ]

Unimelb has fixed things at their end. Please email help@ormond.unimelb.edu.au if you are still
experiencing problems.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Booo!!! Kahahahahahahah!

This most pointless post is a product of xephy's rotting and slightly (and _only_ slightly, mind) bored brain.

Monday, May 20, 2002

(burying myself decently in terry pratchett's "Mort")

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Been thinking about two things the whole week: ralph's condition and college choir. And ranting about both.

I hate how everyone has to be shallow And deep- about anything and everything. And my life is mine- think very carefully before you tell me how to run it.

Why doesn't anyone pick up the phone when i call?? (*cries eyes out*)

I can't stand people who misquote "Mark 8:36- What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? ". I have issues with people who use the Holy Book out of context and for their own purposes.

Message today at the 7pm service was about conflict and conflict resolution as detailed in Matthew 18:15 to 19. And i have a grudge to resolve with the music co-ordinator in SJSM in singapore- one that is giving me issues with serving in music ministry here. I just don't want to be hurt again and treated as if i didn't matter- oh wait, the latter was with the whole thing in general. One realizes that i wasn't perceived much as a member when the pastor calls all those going to study in in australia by name and conveniently leaves me out.

I'd just Languish if i was confined to the ormond chapel service. Or any other service run along those lines. It's just... as my confirmation classes teacher Pierre leong (there i remembered his name!) said- in his opinion the only legitimate reason for leaving a church was if one didn't think one was learning from the teachings. Yes, i'm not happy with the teachings there. And i'm not comfortable with the way the service is structured.

If i ever get in the college choir my sundays will be hectic as anything... rushing to a church service outside ormond, grabbing a bite from brunch, and choir prac starting at 3. Noo way will the chapel be my primary church.

And what abt swanston st? I like it a lot. A lot. But to be involved in church, to be in circumstances where i'm not looking for the odd melb-uni-OCFer or so to say hi to .. c.f. sjsm.

And all this conflicts with the reason my parents gave for leaving chapel of the holy spirit- that of power play and people they had conflicts with.

I'm very grateful for the affirmations of all of u around me .... including abt my chances for the choir, and li ming's mentioning of a non-cell grp ocf-er who noticed me.

(goes back to cry into his pillow)

The Young Person's Guide to the Chorus.
My brother in law and sister, after having seen Star Wars II on the opening day at 12:30am in the morning, and where everyone clapped when the movie started and when Yoda appeared, no handphones rang and some girl came dressed as Padme (with white skin tight jumpsuit), went to see it a second time and brought me.

Luckily, this time the crowd was 'normal'! Yeh. None of the crazy fans who will queue for weeks for tickets or who make fan films. And I bet none of them have watched any of the films more than 10 times, unlike this boy who proudly told Alec Guiness that he'd watched the original 100 times and was promptly scolded.

Assorted scribblings:

- Why is everyone the apprentice of everyone else?
- The Maori couldn't suppress hid down under accent. Pity. Lucky all his progeny were not trained to speak like him.
- It's very obvious who Sidious is. When I first saw his hologram in Episode I, I knew straightaway.
- The level of technology went down in the 20 or so years between Episodes I and II and IV-VI. The stormtroopers lost their nice gunships and AT-AT transports. Of course, this has nothing to do with the 20 or so years that passed in real life between the making of these 2 trilogies.
- I hope Jar Jar dies a horrible death in Episode 3
- How come there are so few Jedi? And then they all got killed. How sad.
- Making C3PO Anakin's creation was not a good idea. Breaks the continuity, as neither show any signs of recognition in the 2nd trilogy
- What did they have Kenny Baker around for? Isn't R2D2 now fully non-human? Unless he makes the electronic noises himself
- If the Jedi let the Sith creep up on them like that, they deserved to have been exterminated!
- Political correctness is so evident. The new (Elected - bah) Queen of Naboo is Indian. Jango's a New Zealander. And some people have the cheek to complain about racism! But then they're species-ist. Aliens are all humanoid except for one guy with no legs but a snake's tail instead. Better than Babylon 5.

Why is Star Wars so popular? Even Not So Screwed Up Girl, who professes to hate it - "i think star wars is the most overrated, tacky bundle of scifi movies to spawn a following. i find the effects distasteful, the plots cheesey and characters ridiculous.", says she will watch it if she has the time.

My brother-in-law kept calling me his Padawan during lunch, so I poked him in the tummy. At other times, he's been scratching me on the nape of my neck like I'm some cat. The next time, if he treats me like a cat, I'll treat him like I was a cat (ignoring him, scratching him and hissing at him)!

I saw Dr Pepper in Liberty Plaza Singapore. And Dr Diet Pepper too. Ugh. And Diet Mug Root Beer! Wonder how the last tastes.
Bookout post:

Restored Post

This past week passed very fast, perhaps because it was very slack except for some unnameble activity. Which some guy, a lucky disruptee, elsewhere has seen fit to write about, so I'll just link you there :)

During our Patient Assessment Model (PAM) test, people were very bored, so they started catching insects and other lifeforms in a ziploc bag. I saw a giant centipede, a worm and a giant spiders in the bag the first time. A while later, the spider was out of the bag and lying on a stone platform, unable to move. Apparently it'd been stung by the centipede and was paralysed. Later, the giant centipede was given company by a lizard, more spiders and smaller centipedes.

The people I was sitting with, however, chose to spend out time less destructively. We discussed cartoons, of the 80s especially (ahh, the joy of nostalgia). And for some reason Power Rangers came into the picture, and some of them liked Kimberly, my nickname-sake.

We had a big spring cleaning, which we should have done when we first moved in. The amount of dust we cleaned out was unbelievable. During the activity, I very cleverly smashed my handphone screen by holding the phone in the same hand as a brush and whacking the brush on the floor to get rid of the dust. Increasing my level of euphoria, my father sent it in for servicing already and I can't find my guarantee card, so I'll probably have to fork out $150 for the repair. Oh well, at least my slave pittance increases by at least $110 from July 1st.

In response to Folie's appeals for material to pin on the noticeboard, somebody brought a 2002 Pullout Calender from an asian edition of Penthouse magazine (with no nudity though). Attempts to cover the word "Penthouse" with liberal application of a black marker proved futile, however, and even if anything else had been put up on the board - it lies bare to this day, Saturday May 18th 2002, I'm not sure if the calender would have gone up.

Sargunan blasted Indian music through some speakers and within minutes, 2-3 Indians had come down from the upper floors and were grooving along.

We're supposed to do pullups before lunch and dinner, but for 3 weeks, we hadn't done any. Until Saturday lunch, when my pathetic attempts were as futile as ever.

Zhang's wife gave birth on sunday night/monday morning and the SAF gave him 3 days paternity leave, usable within 8 weeks. I suggested taking 1 of them on stretcher carrying day and one on river crossing day :)

Willie is the darling of the Bruneian girls so we all make fun of him :) He also brought in a Gameboy Colour which he plays at night. Actually I've also seen a Gameboy Advance, but I'm not sure whose it is.

People seem to have a FHM library - the American edition, the Malaysia edition (which I'm told sucks and is uninteresting) and back issues of the Singapore edition. Competition to loan from this library is intense.

A kitten got run down by some guy. As I was marching, I saw it on the road - the eyeballs were bulging out, the skin at the back was split and the internal organs were visible. And there was meat on the road. Ugh. The mother was mewing loudly for a few days after that. So much for cats being smart.

5 people ordered supper from Daniel Ng who was coming back from Attn C. His bag was full, so he carried the booty in his hands, and was promptly caught. All of them signed extra duties. Oh well.

Someone brought a CD in and it's been playing all week. I've tentatively called it "The most irritating dance music of all time". Ahhhh!

During our field camp we won't need to wear camo, it's 4 days and 3 nights but effectively ~72 hours as we arrive in the afternoon and depart in the afternoon, it's held on flat land and best of all we will get portable toilets (those plastic structures you see at outdoor functions)!.

Our company quartermaster is only PES B! And he sometimes puts a funky hairband in his hair. Oh, and he's Tony Tan's son. Or at least he said that he was. Whether he was joking or was trying to trick gullible looking me is the question.

For a change, during Tuesday's night off, I went to eat dinner with Steven and Daniel, at Pastamania at Scotts. It's very good for the price!

Joshua was reading FHM and he happened to mention that the girl there was the Yellow Ranger (and commented that she was hot). Looking at the article, who did I see but Cerina Vincent, whom you can see on Power Rangers Lost Galaxy on weekends on Channel i at 6:30, playing an buxom native of Mirinoi. Ooo, from Power Rangers to FHM :)

We were discussing our camp and apparently it was a World War II hospital, as can be told from the architecture. For one, the plumbing was apparently obsolete by 1975.

Apparently SAF canteens are supposed to serve health food. What a joke, look at ours! The noodles ooze oil as you pick them from the plate.

I realise that I've been free of the flu for quite a while! I think I've finally shaken off the Tekong Flu virus - and it *is* a virus, because SMM is a hell of a lot dirtier and older than Tekong. Either that or it's a curse placed by the malay villagers who used to live there.

The cookhouse food may suck but one thing they're reasonably competent in making is omelettes. Yum. Also, we had a superb nightsnack on monday night - puff pastry filled with red bean paste. However, the fish is apparently so bad that even the cats will not deign to touch it. Newest euphemism - "Mutton Bombay". Not as bad as "Chicken Kleo", served during Joshua's TSS time though :) Someone said that SISPEC has the best food in the SAF because the people there train hard. Which explains why our food is so sucky :)

Someone played "My Heart Will Go On" over the speakers and everyone started singing along. It was so bad, I took the earplugs from my webbing and wrapped a towel around my head.

While I was sleeping, some bloody bastard hanged my polar bear from a hanger with transpore tape. The result being that when I removed the tape, however carefully, some of the fur from around the neck came out. I don't mind if they "play" with me, but only scum bully soft toys! When the previously mentioned "garang" sergeant found out (he happened to ask after the polar bear), he knocked everyone down and said he didn't want this sort of thing happening in his platoon so I think we're not going to sabotage each other anymore. Much.

The Medical Officer Conversion Course (MOCC) trainees have an interesting way of singing their marching songs - not very loud, but clipped and precisely.

Looking through my sms inbox, I found that 2 of them have been there rather long. One dates from 26/3 and contains advice on downgrading from Filbie :) The other was from Andrew, sent before he left (16/2), an extract from Psalms 27:

"The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?"

Actually I prefer Psalm 23.

One of the malays in my bunk came up to me and said that he felt that calling "Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza" "Malay 2 for 1 Pizza" was rather racist. I don't actually see why - 90% of the people who work there are Malay, so what's wrong with an affectionate name (even if they do burn their pizzas)? If I called it "Long Haired Blondes' Pizza", no one'd be offended.

Latest people to pop up in SMM: Matthew Seah, who's recovering from some ligament op (ouch! My condolences!) and is due to be a service medic (lucky guy!) and Mr Kamal, my history teacher for the latter half of J2, who'd returned for reservist!

Mr Kamal: "Your website still running, with all your teachers' slipups?"
Me: "... All my sergeants' slipups"

Some woman from NUH came down to talk to us to urge us to donate blood so they could extract platelets to save the life of this 22 year old Chinese girl. This is all well and good, but what I don't understand is why they came down specially just to save 1 person - shouldn't this come under a more general blood donation drive which would save more than 1 person?

The new camp will have 8 trainees to each bunk. That's 1/4 the load of my bunk now! Oh well, they've an SOC ground nearby.

Apparently now some A level people also go to the pest buster vocation ("Public Health Assistant"), which entails undergoing a 5 week course, and where the instructors are Lance Corporals. I want also!

Everytime my platoon mates talk about female instructors or, hell, any female, the first thing they will mention or discuss is whether she looks good, whether she "can make it". This is very sad, and it just shows how screwed up the male gender is. I only hope that it's because slavery exacerbates their primal instincts, and normally they won't behave that way.

Our IV this week was interrupted by something unusual - there was a snake in the training shed, coiled around the roofbeams. It was green and rather long and had black rings along its length. The last I saw before going down to the mess tentage, the sergeants were posturing with a stick. I don't think they're actually trained in snake catching :) After that little scare, we had to resume practice (unfortunately). This week the Yakult Straw (1.77mm thick if I remember right) was inserted into me by my buddy. And he's really good, as in other aspects of the medic vocation. I didn't even *cry* this time. Of course, not being poked at the wrist did help :) As did the support from friends around and my mumbling and singing. I must learn more songs suitable to be sung acapella by only 1 part, and memorise longer tracts. I'm blessed :)

Next week is going to be very tiring. Monday - transportation of casualties with and without stretchers. Wednesday - loading onto vehicles and helicopters. Friday - crossing of water obstacles. Ugh! No wonder our book in timing's 9:30pm.

Some of my platoon mates thought I looked like a golfer. Wth.

Every saturday morning we fall in to go for breakfast, and every saturday morning, without fail, the sergeants will not be around because they are all sleeping! Grr. Anyhow we took advantage of their absence and half of us (including me) ran back to our bunk to sleep (advisable especially considering the length of the queue).

Zhang brought in food for us to thank us for being so supportive of him during the time of his baby's birth - Old Chang Kee Curry Puffs and Polar Egg Tarts. Interestingly, there were "Nutrition Facts" on the side of the Curry Puff boxes, which rather amused me.

Heard: One guy who's now in Gryphon was raped by another recruit. The rapist went to jail. Also heard: "apparently DB is quite nice now. relatively. they don't carry sandbags anymore. its more like jail with PT every few days. eat sleep. fun."

Seeing my scribblings, someone said my writing was messy and I could become a doctor. Gah.


"[Muslim on the tudung issue] Next time I start my own religion. Go to school wear underwear. (I'll, They'll go, wearing)"

"[On the 4th Batman movie] The latest one was Batman and Friends right."

"I think normal guys' hands are not big enough for her top... [Someone else: She's an E, she's an E. She's 32E]... It's natural... [SOmeone else: This is called saggy breasts] (???)"

"[Greeting a Second Sergeant] Good evening Sir... Good evening Staff... Good evening Sergeant. [Sergeant: Call me Mister. Good morning mister.] Good evening Mister. [Sergeant: Good evening, carry on.] [Other sergeant: ORD personnel]"

"Your earlobes. I love your earlobes, Gabriel."

"[On sports medicine and the Bruneians] You see, now they are starting to catch mosquito, very boring. (mosquitoes, the lesson's)"

"Like acupuncture, you use the needle to poke the nerves (pressure points)"

"[On playing with a lighter] Roy, what are you doing? Before we move, [you] try to burn the camp down."

"It's better to have a rifle than not to have a rifle. Otherwise you look so cock standing by the side of the road doing this. [Mimes pointing rifle]"

"Combat rations is nice to eat one. I like to eat combat rations... [But the] Course Commander force me to eat fresh rations. (are, eat, will force)"

"[On bra pulling] The girls in my secondary school used to do that to each other. [Mimes pulling someone's shirt and letting go] After PE lesson they'll come back and do that, in front of the guys."

"What is the first [method of disease] prevention?... Wear clean clothes everyday. How many days you wear your uniform already?... Just now in the company audit I almost fainted. I don't know how the 2 ladies can stand it. (have you worn)"

"Other than certain people, I'm sure our Bruneian friends bathed before the lecture. [Trainee: Standing order{s say we cannot bathe during office hours}]... When I was a trainee you know how many times a day I bathe?"

"The medic is always very well liked, because if he earns the trust of the PC, if he earns the trust of the sect com, then he has the authority to say, this soldier is not feeling well [and should not train]"

"[On behaviour modification] It's up to you to encourage them not to smoke. And not to get non-smokers to smoke."

"[On our reluctance to hang clothes on the lines] Monkey will not steal your clothes lah (The monkey)"

"[On unhygienic food] You want to get MC, go and take canteen food"

"[On fake sore eyes, pretended conjunctivitis, faked by rubbing soapy water into the eys] Some cases, they will isolate you in the sick bay, until you recover, then they send you back. These are for the cases like fake sore eyes. They go and IV you, let the medic practice his IV. IV won't kill you one, just don't flush."

"[On me] Not to say you, but you don't have the attitude to keng one"
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